- one 6-1/2 to 7 pound roasting chicken
- 7 medium to large sized lemons
- 1/4 cup honey
- kosher salt and lemon pepper (I found that lemon pepper makes this chicken even more lemony and changed the original recipe; you can use regular black pepper if you prefer)
Thursday, March 25, 2010
feeling like a spring chicken!
Lemon and Honey
So easy, and perfect for Passover,
or as part of a small, intimate Easter dinner.
Mmm... an aromatic golden brown roast chicken is just the thing for a special spring dinner. The lemony flavor is most concentrated in the skin, crispy from basting with pan juices and honey, but if you're sure to poke the skin a bit before roasting, the lemon flavor will infuse the chicken as it cooks and surprise you with its fresh flavor. Serve with anything from a rice pilaf to roasted baby new potatoes to a sweet potato casserole. If there are any leftovers, they are delicious added to pasta primavera, or sliced cold in a green salad with fruit and a bit of honey mustard dressing.
Start preparation for this chicken the night before cooking.
The night before, squeeze the juice of 6 lemons (this will equal about a cup of fresh lemon juice). Trim excess fat from the chicken, rinse and pat dry, then carefully poke holes in the skin (not only will this help flavor the meat with the lemon juice, it will enable fat to melt from the skin and sort of "self-baste" the chicken). Place chicken in a 2 gallon resealable plastic bag with the cup of lemon juice. Refrigerate overnight, being sure to turn the chicken occasionally.
To roast: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius). Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the lemon juice. Place half of the last lemon into the chicken cavity. Liberally sprinkle chicken with kosher salt and lemon pepper and place breast down on a rack in a roasting pan. (This chicken becomes a bit messy; if you have a non-stick roasting pan, this is the time to use it. If not, I suggest lining the roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.) Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then turn oven down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) and roast uncovered for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, turn chicken over to breast side up (I achieve this awkward task with grilling tongs and a grilling fork but you may have a better method). Heat the 1/4 cup of honey until just pourable and brush part of it on the chicken. Return chicken to the oven for another 55 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads that the chicken is fully cooked. During the last 55 minutes of roasting, continue to brush and baste the chicken with honey and pan juices.
Remove from oven when done, sprinkle lightly with the juice of the other lemon half and a bit more salt, tent with foil and let rest for 10 or 15 minutes, then carve and serve. The original recipe suggests serving the chicken with pan juices, but I found them to be mainly fat and some burned honey goo, so I skip that part.
This recipe is based on a recipe first printed in Bon Appetit magazine in April, 2004; I adjusted it to reflect my tastes.